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Setting up a successful Google Shopping campaign

Whether you’re selling clothes or shoes, pet food or gadgets, Google Shopping Campaigns work brilliantly for most e-commerce companies. They represent a consistent percentage of AdWords traffic for most retailers, and as such it’s vital that you set up and optimise your Google Shopping Campaign effectively, in order to compete with other retailers in your sector.

Firstly, as Google Shopping uses information you provide from your shops backend, you need to make sure that the date being pulled through is reliable.This means that product titles, prices, and product descriptions must be accurate, and that associated imagery is relevant.

Ensuring the data is being pulled through in a format which Google can read is absolutely essential. Fortunately though, many of the more popular platforms such as Magento or Shopify will do this for you through the use of a plug-in. If you’re not using one of the well-known platforms, then you’ll need to spend some time in Excel manually formatting the data into the right format.

Remember, if you don’t get your feed right by not providing enough relevant information about your products, you’re likely to see your adverts get limited exposure or even have items disapproved. Once you have your feed, you can publish to Google Merchant Center. The Merchant Center allows you to manage your feed and troubleshoot any errors which may appear. Don’t be surprised to find that a lot of these errors appear when you first connect your feed to the Merchant Center, as you may find that some products may have been overlooked when ensuring that the correct data was part of the feed, or it may be in the wrong format.

Some of these issues are fairly simple to fix, but some will require a bit more work, including adding product identifiers to every one of your products. Use Feeds Rules to make bulk changes such as adding product categories as this will speed everything up.

Having successfully mastered Google Merchant Centre, you can now start setting up your Google Shopping campaign in AdWords. As is usually the case, each item will have the same cost per click (CPC), and so you’ll need to ensure you have different product groups and set bids accordingly. By default, you can split based on brand, category or on a product level. If you want to set the bid according to margin, you’ll need to use custom labels to add that information to your product feed.

Once your Shopping campaign is up and running, you’ll begin to see some results, and it’s essential that you continue to optimise it for maximum performance and return on investment. You will also most likely want to run promotions in order to remain competitive. Using Merchant promotions, you will be able to show a ‘special offer’ link in your shopping ads.

To create a new promotion log into your Merchant Center account, go to the “Promotions” tab on the left-hand side, click the “+Promotion” button and follow the instructions. You will also want to analyse your Search Query Report. Although your Product Ads can’t be triggered by keyword targeting, knowing the most popular search queries will definitely provide some great insights for optimising your campaigns.

Supposing you are a fashion retailer that only sells ladies items, you might consider adding “mens” as a negative keyword in order to avoid irrelevant traffic. This will help ensure you are not matching on queries you do not want to match on. For example, if you sell red trainers and you see a query for red flip flops which you do not sell, you will want to that as a negative keyword.

What is more, you can use your search query report to optimise your Product Title Attributes. For example, if your product title is “Adidas T-Shirt – Red”, but your SQR shows a huge number of searches for “Adidas Red T-Shirt” you might want to update your product title to match your potential customers’ search queries more closely.

Monitoring your competitors is also something which you are likely to want to be able to do, and you can do this using Auction Insights. The Auction Insights report shows you how your impression share, average position or top of the page rate compare to those of your competitors’.  After identifying how you stand against your competitors, you can increase or decrease your aggressiveness in order to achieve your desired outcomes. To check your Auction Insights report, please follow the steps below: Go to the “Campaigns” or “Ad Groups” tab

Select the campaign or the ad group for which you want to see the data Go to the “Details” button and click “Selected”. We know that Google Shopping can be a challenge, but following these tips and hints should mean that you get off to a flying start with your Google Shopping campaign.


Circus PPC is a team of PPC experts dedicated to improving PPC accounts who are passionate about performance, driving growth and reducing waste.

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